HARARE, June 11: It was a dream debut for opener Lokesh Rahul as his attractive 100 not out enabled a new-look Indian team record a resounding nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI of the three match series here today.
Chasing a paltry target of 169, the Indian batsmen hardly broke sweat as they comfortably cruised home in 42.3 overs.
Playing his first ODI, Rahul completed his coveted three-figure landmark with a huge six over deep mid-wicket off seamer Hamilton Masakadza, when there was only two runs required to win the match.
He found an able ally in Ambati Rayudu (62 not out) as they added 162 runs in 38 overs for the unbroken second wicket partnership even though the Hyderabadi batsman was not at his fluent best. When he reached 87, Rahul also became the highest individual scorer on debut eclipsing Robin Uthappa�s 86 against England on his ODI debut in Indore, back in 2006.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni�s team were in complete control of the proceedings right from the start as the hosts never looked like putting up a fight during the course of the match, once they were put into bat.
After Jasprit Bumrah (4/28), Dhawan Kulkarni (2/42) and Barinder Sran (2/42) made full use of the conditions where there was help for seamers, Rahul-Rayudu pair kept calm as they chased with minimum fuss.
They were effective without being scintillating as they did not play too many adventurous shots during their partnership.
While Rahul hit seven boundaries and a six in his 115-ball innings, a relatively subdued Rayudu picked up during the second half, hitting five boundaries in 120 balls.
Rayudu, who hit his sixth ODI half-century, also completed 1000 ODI runs during his innings, becoming the fifth fastest to do so in 29 innings.
Zimbabwe: P Moor lbw b Sran 3, C Chibhabha b Bumrah 13, H Masakadza c Dhoni b Kulkarni 14, C Ervine c sub (FY Fazal) b Patel 21, V Sibanda c Dhoni b Bumrah 5, Sikandar Raza b Sran 23, E Chigumbura b Bumrah 41, R Mutumbami c Rahul b Chahal 15, A Cremer b Kulkarni 8, T Chatara c Rayudu b Bumrah 4, T Muzarabani not out 1. Extras: (LB-3, W-14, NB-3) 20. Total: (all out; 49.5 overs) 168. Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-30, 3-47, 4-69, 5-77, 6-115, 7-140, 8-156, 9-167. Bowling: D Kulkarni 10-1-42-2, B Sran 10-0-42-2, J Bumrah 9.5-2-28-4, A Patel 10-1-26-1, Y Chahal 10-1-27-1.
India: KL Rahul not out 100, K Nair c S Raza b Chatara 7, A Rayudu not out 62. Extras: (LB-1, WD-3) 4. Total: (For 1 wicket in 42.3 overs) 173. Fall of wickets: 1-11. Bowling: T Chatara 7-1-20-1, T Muzarabani 6-0-18-0, C Chibhabha 8-1-14-0, G Cremer 10-0-47-0, E Chigumbura 4-0-34-0,Sikandar Raza 5-0-20-0, H Masakadza 2.3-0-19-0. � PTI